Meet Natalie

Over the last decade, Operation Pretty Things has been touching lives with simple tangible extensions of love.  One of those  recipients is Natalie...

"I’ll never forget the day I received a gift bag from Operation Pretty Things during an empowerment meeting. Inside were beauty items I couldn’t have afforded—luxuries to me. Then I read the notecard. In that moment, I realized how much caring and thought had gone into the gift because a stranger thought I was worth effort. My abuser withheld attention, affection, and access to money. I can’t tell you how much love the OPT gift conveyed. It showed me that I am worth someone’s time and effort."
"I was subjected to emotional abuse my entire life, but it wasn’t until my ex-husband left me stranded with almost nothing in a strange new town that I even recognized it. I had married and moved with my ex-husband to a foreign country where, in isolaon, he slowly turned from Prince Charming into a cold, miserly man.
I suffered the loss of my self-worth, was kept in the dark about our finances, and was treated like I was nothing more than a piece of furniture for him to use and forget about. Our household was so fraught with tension because disagreements were outlawed by my ex and he used stonewalling as a means of avoiding conflict. My child developed OCD behaviors as a way of coping with the strain---I turned to bulimia.  Shortly after my ex-husband deserted me, I stumbled upon descriptions of covert abuse. I began attending an empowerment group where I learned how abusers wield power to control their victims.
My healing journey had begun.
Today, I am employed full-time and a proud first-time home owner. My artistic abilies had been hindered by PTSD and the stress of a contenous divorce, but they are coming back now. Art is so therapeutic. I also make a specific effort to take care of myself like I never have before. I am slowly blossoming into the woman I am meant to be—not oppressed by abuse.
One of my goals is to bring attention to the covert side of domesc violence because it is not well understood among the general population. I hope to write a book about my experience and to again enjoy traveling around the world. Someday, I hope to find a non-abusive man to share my life with, but if that day never comes, I will be so thankful to continue living a life free from abuse."